Lindale Ponte Verde Series

This series began in 2009 and first exhibited in January 2010 at Wagner-Souza Gallery in Galveston, TX. Subsequently exhibited in the 2010 group shows: "Resilience", Williams Tower, Houston, TX and "Small Sculptures: Large Concepts", Jewish Community Center, Tucson, AZ.

The title "Lindale Ponte Vedra" references the fact that Ponte Vedra pieces of foam sculptures began during a residence at Architectural Foam Industries in Jacksonville, FL, where I stayed in Ponte Vedra, FL. In homage to David Smith's "Voltri" series, I named the series after the town; the subsequent works produced in Houston followed his example of including the new place of production with the older series title.

Elegy Series

The Elegy series began during the residency at Architectural Foam Industries in Jacksonville, FL in 2003. I had seemingly inexhaustible materials from the scrap foam generated by the commercial products and unlimited access to the facility. In the two weeks in residency I was able to make 30 pieces, eleven of which were the "Elegies".

The first exhibition was one of the "Faculty Exhibits" at Lamar University, probably in 2004. In 2005 they were shown in my "One Person Exhibit" at the Art Car Museum in Houston. Not all of the pieces were finished at the same time, "Elegy 11:CAVU" was completed in 2009 and exhibited in the "Transparent/Translucent" exhibit, curated by Wade Wilson, at the University of Texas San Antonio. Others have been shown in the two person exhibit with Virgil Grotfeldt at the Ellen Noel Museum, in Odessa, TX, “Sculpture Now”, Williams Tower Gallery, Houston, TX, and the “Oso Bay Biennial XIV”, Islander Art Gallery, Texas A & M, Corpus Christi, TX.

Ghost Series

I have had a long standing interest in sculptures which defy gravity by being suspended rather than sitting on a pedestal or the floor; I began fabricating hanging pieces in 1974 while I was teaching at the University of Minnesota, Morris. The "Ghost" series were initially begun as cast aluminum or iron pieces in 2000; using "spray foam" as a pattern material for the metal castings. There are two cast aluminum, five cast iron, and one or two combination of cast and fabricated pieces extant right now.

During the American Foam Industries residency I was able to finish several foam "Ghosts". Where I had to suspend the previous hanging pieces with heavy rope or cable, the foam pieces could be hung with fishing line that visually disappears.

The initial aluminum cast aluminum pieces were exhibited at Lamar University and more recently at Poissant Gallery in the "Tattoo/Taboo" exhibit along with two of the foam "Ghosts". Two cast iron pieces have been exhibited in the “2300 Degrees/2002” exhibit as part of the 4th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, at Grounds for Sculpture, Mercerville, NJ and one of the combination cast and fabricated pieces was exhibited in the "Three Person Exhibit" at Galerie Luca in Zaltbamel, Netherlands.

Ponte Verde Series

The Ponte Vedra pieces were a large part of my 2003 residency at Architectural Foam Products in Jacksonville, FL. In homage to David Smith who named his "Voltri" pieces after the Italian Town where he made them, the "Ponte Vedras" are named after the town of Ponte Vedra, Fl where I stayed during the residency.

During a studio visit by the late Walter Hopps, he asked if I had ever considered making wall dependent sculptures; I replied that I hadn't because I would have to build the wall first, due to the weight. When I was able to make permanent, rigid pieces out of Styrofoam, the wall became a viable exhibit potential.

The Ponte Vedra pieces were first exhibited in my "One Person Exhibit" at the Art Car Museum in 2005. Subsequently they were exhibited in my 2010 exhibit at Wagner-Souza Gallery in Galveston, TX. Individual pieces have been seen in the annual "Faculty Exhibit" at Lamar University.

Tondo Series

The "Tondo" Series began in 2003 in Jacksonville, FL when I was in Residency at Architectural Foam Industries, Since many of AFI's products are columns, there were lots of circular pieces of foam in their materials pile. I had always wondered why the circular format was so intriguing to the artists in the Renaissance; Raphael and the Della Robbia family did many "lunettes". I took advantage of the opportunity to investigate the problems that were inherent to the format. I think the Renaissance artists found that it was just plain fun to work with a circular format; or at least I did. I had been manufacturing circular objects in the "turntable" business and as custom foundry patterns for Keen Foundry, so making circular art objects seemed a natural extension. I used a combination of cut Styrofoam and Great-Stuff", a spray-foam used for insulation. I had been using a similar approach to make the patterns for casting metal before I found rigid-ized foam, so it was another natural extension to cast some of the pieces.

In the summer of 2004 I extended further by doing a series of "Tondo" drawings. Beginning with works on paper, I wanted a more "tangible" object, so I made panels and laminated Formica to the surface; Formica is a paper product used for the counter tops that I used to make the circles that comprise the "turntables" that I manufacture. The advantage of Formica over standard paper bases is that Formica allows for total erasure without damaging the surface. It allows me to work both onto the surface and into the image.

Tondos have been exhibited in Lamar Faculty exhibitions, “Between Mass & Void”, at Poissant Gallery, Houston, TX, the Two Person Exhibit, at the Ellen Noel Museum, in Odessa, TX, and a new group of Tondos will be part of my exhibit at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, TX during 2012.

Psychoses Series:


 On a Monday in December, 1995 the Houston Chronicle ran an article entitled "From Amok to Zar"; It excerpted "culturally bounded psychosis syndromes" from the 4th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. When I was a child, my mother would admonish me to "stop running amok" when I became over exuberant in my play. It turns out that "Amok" is a primarily Malaysian disorder where the symptoms include "brooding followed by a violent outburst...& is prevalent among men". While it may not have been exactly appropriate to a boisterous child, I knew what my mother was talking about, and altered my behavior. I find it intriguing that mental disorders can be particular to entire cultures as well as individual people.
At the time, I had been working on Styrofoam patterns for a run of bronze castings; I began to think about various syndromes as I was working on these smaller pieces. While I don't try to illustrate the syndrome, I do attempt to use forms or relationships suggested by a syndrome. Over the years the series has used cast metals, fabricated steel, and stabilized foam.
Pieces from the Psychoses series were exhibited in 1997 in a one person exhibit at Weekend Gallery in Houston and another one person exhibit at San Antonio College in San Antonio, TX. In 2001 Psychoses pieces were included in the Three Person Exhibit, at Galerie Luca, in Zaltbommel, NL. In 2005 some of the larger steel pieces were exhibited in a group exhibit at the Coady Contemporary Gallery, in Santa Fe, NM. Recent exhibits include the 2011 IronTribe Exhibit, at the Burris Hall Art Gallery, New Mexico Highlands University, in Las Vegas, NM, and 2012 "Atomic Cast Iron Commission" exhibits at Texas Womens University in Denton, TX and Baylor University in Waco, TX.

Tumbling Match Pieces


 In 1986 I was writing artist interviews and profiles for the local give-away arts paper IN ART; I was also seeing a lady sculptor who wrote for the publication. In retrospect it was a strange relationship and it didn't last all that long, but my reaction to our parting was to use one of her forms with imbedded text, since we both wrote, in some of my small bronze castings that the late sculptor Bill Dennard and I were casting together in my backyard foundry. The only time that we both had free was August, it was pretty brutal conditions to be casting which was appropriate to the iconography.
At first the texts that were stamped into the surface were a free association list of things that seemed important about that specific relationship, but soon I realized that the same strategy could be used about previous and subsequent relationships. Years later someone characterized the texts as poetry, and while I'm uncomfortable with that identification, they do seem to make more sense when read aloud. Two of the early larger steel pieces dealt with my service in Viet Nam.
Text in various forms continues to be a periodically useful element in much of my work.

Landscapes


Prairie Pieces

In his 1998 book Inside the Sky, William Langewiesche postulates that if one is exposed to viewing the world from the cockpit of a light plane and relatively low altitude, they are given a unique vision of space and that "it imposes a brutal honesty on our perceptions" of the world. Like Langewiesche, I grew up viewing the world from a light plane, flying with my father over much of the mid-west. I learned to "drive an airplane" long before I learned to drive an automobile. Many years later I did make my solo flight, but I never got my pilot's license.

However I fully agree with Langewiesche's opinion that "low and slow" flight gives one a unique perception of the world. One obvious impact is the view that most of America is divided into one mile squares. That arbitrary division has no regard for the physical condition of the topography it divides, nor the atmospheric conditions that exist above it and all pilots are very aware of the atmosphere that supports them.
Prairie Pieces
In the mid 1970's I was teaching at the Morris branch of the University of Minnesota and began a series of landscape pieces that I called "Prairie Pieces". Early versions were fabricated steel, but at the same time I was becoming involved with casting iron through my exposure to it by Wayne Potratz at the Minneapolis campus of the University. When I relocated to Houston and began teaching at Lamar University I continued with my fabrications, but when colleague Phil Fitzpatrick and I started an iron casting program at Lamar in 1980 I began casting the landscapes. I continue to cast iron pieces with Donnie Keen at Keen Foundry in Houston and have also used "stabilized Styrofoam".

Ricelands and 'Scape Drawings

 In the spring of 1968 I was driving from Philadelphia to Kansas City when I had an "epiphany'; somewhere between Colombia, MO and Kansas City the world "flattened out" against the windshield of my truck and the atmospheric forces in the sky became palpable. When I reached home I made series of drawings using the extraordinary experience. I have continued to make drawings about the landscape and the sky, especially what I have observed driving across the rice fields between Houston and Beaumont. There is a grandeur in the prairie landscape and its relationship to atmospheric phenomena; while I have abstracted the pieces, I have observed what I have recorded.
It wasn't until the 1990's that I realized that I have lived the majority of my life on or near the 96th meridian. With very few exceptions I have lived on some version of the prairie landscape; even in Viet Nam the form of the landscape was the similar and the divisions just as arbitrary as the American mid-west.